Divisional rankings: Middleweight

Weidman defeats Gastelum via submission (0:31)

In front of a hometown crowd, Chris Weidman earns his first win since May 2015 with a third-round submission. (0:31)

Check out my rankings within each division by clicking on the links below.

Who is the best fighter regardless of weight class? See ESPN's pound-for-pound rankings. Plus, check out our women's pound-for-pound rankings.

Note: Results through July 24.

Divisional Rankings

Heavyweight | Light heavyweight
Middleweight | Welterweight | Lightweight
Featherweight | Bantamweight | Flyweight
Women's bantamweight | Women's strawweight


1. Michael Bisping (30-7)
The UFC champion recorded his first defense in October, but it was a more difficult fight than many expected going in. Dan Henderson gave Bisping all he could handle in a five-round fight. Contenders are licking their chops at the thought of taking Bisping's belt. He has a rather large target on his back.
Next: TBD

2. Robert Whittaker (19-4)

In a span of three months, Whittaker knocked out Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza and edged Yoel Romero in a five-round battle. That's about as impressive as it gets. Next up: A UFC title fight against Michael Bisping.
Next: TBD

3. Luke Rockhold (15-3)

Rockhold's UFC title reign was short-lived, as he went down in the first round of his first title defense -- against an opponent who came in on two weeks' notice. Did he take Bisping too lightly? Whether he did or not, the Brit knocked him out cold at UFC 199.
Next: UFC Fight Night on Sept. 16, vs. David Branch

4. Yoel Romero (12-2)
Romero came close to capturing the UFC's interim title, but couldn't outlast Robert Whittaker at UFC 213. He certainly has (plenty) bounce back potential, but time is also of an essence. He's on the plus side of 40.
Next: TBD

5. Gegard Mousasi (41-6-2)
Mousasi finished out his UFC contract on a disappointing note. While he defeated Chris Weidman at UFC 210 in April, the finish came under a storm of controversy thanks to a referee error. Nevertheless, it goes down as a TKO win.
Next: Bellator 185 on Oct. 20, vs. Alexander Shlemenko

6. Chris Weidman (14-3)
It will take a few more wins for Weidman to stand atop the middleweight division again, but at least for one night, it kind of felt that way again. Weidman was superb in a submission win over Kelvin Gastelum in July, in his native Long Island. Next: TBD

7. Jacare Souza (24-5)

Souza probably should have been granted a UFC title shot a long time ago, but that's not about to change following his shocking knockout loss to Whittaker. It goes without saying: Souza has plenty of bounce-back potential, but this loss is a big one.
Next: TBD

8. Derek Brunson (17-5)
Brunson snapped a two-fight skid in highlight-reel fashion in June, knocking out Daniel Kelly inside the first round. He probably should have beat Anderson Silva in the fight before that too, but judges saw it different. Get this man a big fight.
Next: TBD

9. Lyoto Machida (21-6)
The former light heavyweight champion made an immediate splash at 185 pounds in 2013, but he has dropped three of four. He's also been finished in his past two and is now under suspension for an anti-doping violation. Not a good stretch.
Next: TBD

10. David Branch (21-3)
A former two-weight champ in WSOF, Branch returned to the UFC for the first time since 2011 and picked up a win over Krzysztof Jotko. It wasn't the most riveting performance, but a successful return is a successful return.
Next: UFC Fight Night on Sept. 16, vs. Luke Rockhold